NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers has made "tremendous progress" in building faculty excellence, improving student experience, raising the school's profile and other areas President Robert L. Barchi said Wednesday as he delivered a five-year report on the University Strategic Plan to the Board of Governors.

Looking back since his arrival at Rutgers in 2012, Barchi clicked off some of the most significant advances in the university, including:

- More than doubling externally endowed professorships.

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- Starting more than $2.5 billion in new construction, including facilities for chemistry, nursing, engineering, life sciences and state-of-the-art laboratories.

- Launching online services to simplify student transactions and planning.

- Creating Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and launching an academic health partnership with RWJBarnabas Health.

- Setting fundraising records three years in a row with Rutgers donors projected.

"Through the efforts of our entire community, we have made tremendous progress at Rutgers in the past five years," Barchi said. "The university is in an excellent position to meet the challenges and opportunities of the next decade and beyond."

These initiatives flow directly from the university's strategic plan, which aimed to increase Rutgers' nationwide prominence as a leading public university, preeminent in research, excellence in teaching and committed to local, state and national communities.

"Five years after the launch of the strategic plan, Rutgers is a much stronger university," said Sandy J. Stewart, chair of Rutgers' Board of Governors. "As one of the most innovative universities in the nation, Rutgers will continue to attract world-class faculty, outstanding students and the best staff."

Barchi said Rutgers has made great strides in retaining its faculty. The university increased externally endowed chairs from 41 to 89, while creating 30 new internally funded professorships and term chairs in areas such as chemistry, law and African-American studies. Among the faculty, the number of memberships in the National Academies and American Academy of Arts and Sciences grew from 47 to 68.

Managing the message has played a key role, Barchi said.

Rutgers drew national attention when it celebrated its 250th anniversary and then had former President Obama deliver the commencement address in May 2016 before 10,475 graduates and 42,000 guests in Highpoint.com Stadium.

Barchi noted that since 2012, Rutgers' national rankings rose, including on U.S News & World Report's national research and regional institutions lists.